property, DuPage County divorce attorneysIf you are considering divorce, you probably have several questions and concerns. One of these may the question of how your property, assets, and debts will be split between you and your spouse. In an Illinois divorce, marital property and debt are divided according to “equitable distribution” laws. Of course, determining exactly what is equitable is not always easy, and many factors go into asset division decisions.

Only Marital Property is Divided

During an Illinois divorce, the only property which is subject to division is marital, or shared property. At first glance, it may seem easy to distinguish marital property from separate, or non-marital property. The marital estate, as it is called, generally includes property acquired during the marriage and separate property includes assets which the spouses owned prior to getting married. However, there are many exceptions to these generalizations. Certain gifts and inheritances acquired during the marriage are still considered separate property. However, if separate property is comingled, or mixed, with maritirel property, the funds or property may all be considered marital. For example, if a husband receives an inheritance from a deceased relative during the marriage, this is likely separate property. However, if he then uses these funds to pay for combined expenses, the whole amount may be considered marital property during divorce.

Illinois Divides Property Equitably, Not Necessarily Evenly

Some states divide marital property 50-50 during divorce. However, Illinois takes a different approach. Illinois uses a method called equitable distribution to determine how assets and debt should be divided during a divorce. Many factors are considered by the court in order to determine the most reasonable and fair division of assets. These factors include, but are not limited to:

  • Each spouse’s contribution to the marital estate, including non-financial contributions made by a spouse as a homemaker or stay-at-home parent;
  • Any dissipation (wasting or hiding) of assets;
  • The value of both marital and non-marital property assigned to each spouse;
  • The duration of the marriage;
  • The employability and financial circumstances of each spouse;
  • Any child support or spousal maintenance (alimony) from prior relationships;
  • Any valid prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement;
  • The mental and physical health of each spouse;
  • Child custody (allocation of parental responsibility) decisions;
  • Spousal maintenance (alimony) decisions; and
  • Tax consequences of property division.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Attorney

For more information about asset division during an Illinois divorce, contact the experienced Wheaton divorce and family law lawyers at Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath LLC. We can work with you to determine the best course of action for your unique circumstances. Call 630-665-2500 to schedule a consultation today.



Posted in DIvision of Property, Divorce | Tagged , , , , , |

gray divorce, Wheaton divorce lawyersMore and more older couples are getting divorced in the United States. The divorce rate for people aged 50 and over has doubled since 1990, and more than doubled for those over the age of 65. There are several reasons that may explain why so called “gray divorce” is becoming more common. Firstly, there is far less stigma surrounding divorce than there was even just a few decades ago. Just as younger people do, older individuals want to pursue the life that makes them fulfilled and happy. Sometimes, this means ending a marriage. Gray divorce can come with significant complications, however, and it is critical that those getting divorced at an advanced age educate themselves about what to expect.

Spousal Support Is Often Ordered When a Long-Term Marriage Ends

Illinois courts consider several factors when making spousal maintenance (alimony) decisions. These factors include:

  • The duration of the marriage;
  • Income and property of each party;
  • Present and future earning capacity of each party;
  • Any Impairment to a spouse’s present/future earning capacity;
  • Whether or not the party seeking spousal maintenance can become self-supporting;
  • Standard of living established during the marriage;
  • Health, ages, income, and employability of each spouse;
  • Any contributions a spouse makes to the other’s education or career;
  • Tax consequences; and
  • Any other relevant factors.

Divorcing couples are encouraged to make their own decisions about spousal support. If a couple cannot come to an agreement about spousal maintenance payments, the court will make these decisions for the couple. According to the law in Illinois, the court may only award spousal support if there is a valid reason to do so. Each case is handled on an individual basis.

Property Division Can Be Complex

Often, older people or those who have been married long periods of time have greater assets than younger divorcing couples. As with spousal support, couples are encouraged by Illinois courts to divide their property on their own. Courts will intervene if a divorcing couple cannot agree to how they will divide marital property. In Illinois, dividing a couple’s marital assets and liabilities falls under the concept of equitable distribution. Complex assets like family business, stock options, real estate and bank accounts, cars and other vehicles, life insurance policies, retirement plans, pensions, stock options, restricted stock, deferred compensation, and brokerage accounts can significantly complicate a divorce.

Contact a Wheaton, Illinois Divorce Lawyer

If you have further questions about an Illinois divorce, contact the experienced DuPage County divorce lawyers at Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath LLC. Call 630-665-2500 to schedule a consultation today. We can provide the guidance and representation you need.


Posted in Divorce, Grey Divorce | Tagged , , , , , , |

custody, Wheaton family lawyersIf you are an Illinois parent who is considering ending your marriage through divorce, you probably have many questions about what the custody process will look like. Child custody and visitation are called the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time in the law. Illinois courts will always do what they believe to be in the best interest of the child when it comes to decisions about parental responsibility and guardianship. Except in cases involving domestic violence or child abuse, it is assumed that having both parents involved in the child’s life is the ideal custody scenario.

Does the Court Always Decide Custody?

Unmarried parents or divorcing parents who wish to share custody of minor children are required to create a “parenting agreement” or parenting plan. This plan outlines what is expected from each parent in terms of custody, visitation, and involvement in the child’s upbringing. The court only intervenes when parents cannot reach such an agreement about parental responsibilities and parenting time.

Do Children Have a Say in Custody Decisions?

The answer to whether or not children can decide who they live with varies case by case. Courts are more likely to consider the desires of older children who can give a good reason for why they wish to live with a certain parent. Ultimately, the court will make the custody decision based on what is in the child’s best interest.

Does Illinois Law Favor Mothers Over Fathers in Terms of Child Custody?

Illinois law does not favor a child’s mother over the other parent. Instead, the courts wills consider the following factors when determining a custody order:

  • The custody desires of the parents;
  • Each parent’s mental and physical health;
  • Which parent has traditionally been the child’s primary caretaker;
  • The relationships between the parents and the child;
  • Whether the parents can cooperate and collaborate with each other;
  • The living arrangements of the parents;
  • Any allegations of abuse; and
  • Whether or not either of the parents is a registered sex offender.

This list is not exhaustive and Illinois courts may consider other factors not listed here when deciding custody.

Can a Parent with Mental Illness or Substance Abuse Issues Get Custody of their Child?

Having a mental illness such as bipolar disorder or major depression does not automatically disqualify parents from having custody of their children. The same is true for substance abuse or addiction issues. However, Illinois courts will not assign custody to a parent who they believe cannot provide a safe and loving home.

Contact an Experienced DuPage Family Law Attorney

If you have further questions about child custody in Illinois, reach out to the highly skilled Wheaton, Illinois divorce lawyers at Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath LLC. Call 630-665-2500 today to schedule a consultation with our team of dedicated professionals.



Posted in Child Custody, Family law | Tagged , , , , |